Opinion piece from Peter Clements - the Mayor of Kangaroo Island

There has been a great deal of discussion on the island lately concerning the development of a new golf course at Pelican Lagoon with criticisms from all sections of the community.  

Not since the planning days of the Southern Ocean Lodge have we seen such community derision although admittedly there are many people who haven’t voiced their opinions.

You may recall a number of years ago residents were asked to form a Citizen’s Jury to help determine the future of Kangaroo Island and, in a nutshell, following two separate Juries over the course of several years, the Jury determined that islanders needed to be in charge of their own future.

While supporting the role of a KI Commissioner the Jury’s recommendations to the State Government included developing a new model for island governance and a whole of island plan with a big vision.

Included in this process would be the formation of a KI Board populated by people with the right skills, diversity and competencies and which was not a representatively elected body.  

The Jury recommended that this board operate under a ‘Charter of Citizenship Participation’ and engage in a strategic sense with the community to provide ways for the community to participate in its work.  

While the Jury recognised that well-organised, high functioning community and government structures were delivering services to the island they were resolute in determining that a single lead entity in the form of a KI Board was a necessary part of our growth and success as an island.

An interesting addition to these recommendations was that our Year 10-12 students through KICE conduct the nomination process to select this board.  

What a brilliant suggestion to have the very people that will live breathe and work our future involved in the selection, including youth participation. So, after five years, are we any closer to working out these recommendations and if not, why not?

Could the situation we are currently faced with in respect to the golf course, and any other development for that matter, have been made any easier if we had progressed with our Jury’s recommendations?  

We need to honour all the hard work the Jury undertook during those years and get some traction under their recommendations by reminding government of the Jury’s findings. – Peter Clements.